THERE was something reassuringly certain during worryingly uncertain times about Kevin Cawley's decision to sign on for another year at Alloa.

As the club's longest serving player and heading into his tenth straight season – if you overlook a year where he "went away" to Dumbarton – he's as much a part of the match day experience as the pie hut or announcer Gerry Watson breaking out the noughties pre-match playlist.

It's little wonder the infectious little winger says it was a "no brainer" to put pen to paper and join the vast majority of last season's Championship survival side in agreeing to link up with boss Peter Grant once more.

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But, for a man who in more than 300 games for the part-timers has been there, done that, and, often, had the scars to show it, even he has found it hard to adapt to football's lockdown and uncertainty about the immediate future.

For months we have been faced with talk about the game's return and although we have a start date of October agreed this could all be thrown up in the air if Hearts and Partick Thistle throw a spanner in the works and successfully delay things.

It means Cawley and his team-mates have had to adapt to an off season like no other and he admits it hasn't been easy.

"I've been doing a couple of runs a week to keep myself ticking over," he tells Advertiser Sport days before SPFL clubs agreed the provisional date for the second-tier's return. "But, the thing this time is no one knows when we will be playing again.

Strathallan Times: Kevin Cawley in action during his early Alloa days Kevin Cawley in action during his early Alloa days

"Usually you finish and you are given a date and then you know you can go off on your holiday, come back and do a few weeks before we go into pre-season training.

"But no one really has a start date and no one even knows when we will be back. You can only just keep yourself going and then when you get a definite date you up it.

"You don't want to batter yourself just now and then we don't start again until September or October.

"We will see what it's like in the Premiership, which is due to begin in August, as well and then I am sure they will make more judgements about the Championship.

"We need to get the training facilities up to scratch to meet social distancing measures. It's not just as simple as we are going back to training and that's it.

"It will be interesting to see what it's like when we do go back."

Discussion over the SPFL's future haven't been lost on the Alloa squad and while it appears the saga could finally be at end after club's rejected the final attempt to introduce a 14-10-10-10 set up which would spare demoted sides relegation, the legal action by Hearts and Thistle still lingers.

Talk which could impact the Wasps – who Advertiser Sport understand voted against the most recent proposals – rumbles on, but the former Celtic youngster says he has tried to avoid it as much as he can.

"To be honest, I am not even that bothered about it," he says. "It's the powers above us that decide on it and for us we just focus on getting back and playing for Alloa.

"We will still prepare the same way and there is just a lot of uncertainty for the clubs who could be relegated. If there is a way about that's fair enough for everyone, I am open to that.

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"Everyone just wants to get back to playing and to get it sorted, so we can move on.

"Mike [Mulraney] will be fully prepared for no matter what happens and Alloa will be alright. You just don't know how long this will go on for and how other clubs can maintain it.

Strathallan Times: Cawley thrived under the tutelage of Peter Grant last season Cawley thrived under the tutelage of Peter Grant last season

"Hopefully everyone can come to some kind of resolution and we can take steps forward. If we don't, you never know and there could be another lockdown or we could get hit by a second wave.

"We don't want that as it will have a massive financial impact on other clubs."

A goal of the season contender in Alloa's stunning 4-4 draw away to Greenock Morton and a new lease of life in the middle of the park as Grant tweaked the side's set-up showed at 31 Cawley is just as vital to the Wasps' success as he ever was.

And he was as happy as ever to agree to extend his stay, joining everyone but the retired Iain Flannigan and Chris Henry in signing on for another season.

"I wasn't going to go anywhere else and I have always enjoyed my time at Alloa," he says. "It is a good fit for me.

"We were actually going on a decent wee run before lockdown, so I think everyone is chomping at the bit to get back and get the season underway as soon as we can. We want to hit the ground running and see where it takes us.

 

"It seems a long time ago since the season ended and we stopped playing. We were going on a decent run at the time heading into the Thistle game.

"That's all in the past now and we have retained our Championship place now and that's all we wanted to do, even if not in the circumstances we wanted to.

"I've enjoyed every season I have been at Alloa. It's a good fit for me and it feels like a second home.

"There's a great feel about the place and I play my best football there. It's just a good group of boys there and we have always had that tight knit core of boys.

"It's been great and hopefully long may it continue."